When the first black residents of South Florida arrived in the 1880s from the Bahamas to work at the Peacock Inn on Biscayne Bay, they established the Village West neighborhood in Miami’s Coconut Grove.
The neighborhood thrived in the early 1900s with many black-owned businesses and single-family homes. But after World War II ended, many of the homes were torn down and replaced with large apartment buildings. Today, many of those apartment buildings are in disrepair and the residents are struggling. There are many vacant lots, boarded up homes, empty storefronts along the main thoroughfare of Grand Avenue and numerous properties for sale, slated for development.
Lately, the West Grove has been in the news as residents attempt to defeat plans for a trolley garage on Douglas Road, next to single-family homes, and the discovery of contaminated soil at the site of a former municipal incinerator on Jefferson Street, next to Armbrister Park.
Here is a look at the neighborhood, and some of its residents, through photos.